The Commonwealth Games, the Brisbane Festival, the Australian Open, Mardi Gras…
Local events, whatever they happen to be, are invaluable opportunities to attract new customers to your business and increase revenue.
But it’s not enough to give your menu a sports-themed makeover or stick a rainbow sticker on your OPEN sign. No, you also need to make sure those hundreds or thousands of potential customers will find you online while they’re attending the event.
Because if you rely solely on your leaflets and street promoters, you’re selling yourself short.
Let’s talk about the upcoming Commonwealth Games as an example.
This is a chance for Gold Coast businesses to tear. it. up. There are going to be 690,000* unique visitors in the city, according to Jan Grew (the head of the Economic Development and Major Projects committee). This provides an enormous opportunity for businesses to soar – but only if they’ve prepared digitally for the influx.
*For you numbers nerds playing along at home, this will more than double the Gold Coast’s population during April 2018. Holy heck, that’s a lot of people.
Oh, and don’t think for a second you’ll miss out if you’re a B2B business. It’s not just hotels, cafés and nightclubs that can ride this wave. If B2C businesses are looking to take full advantage of the Games, you can bet they’ll be looking for extra support during this time. Now is the time to step up, be found by clients, and make a stellar impression to generate ongoing business.
Hint: If you run a business on the Gold Coast, your digital strategy should already be Commonwealth Games-ified. And if it isn’t, get in touch with us pronto so we can help you prepare.
Now, let’s get to it.
Step 1: Make Sure You’re Listed in Local Directories
It’s obvious, but it’s important. Make sure your business features in all of your city’s prominent digital directories. This includes both city-specific directories (e.g. Inside Gold Coast) and the appropriate regions/sections of nationwide directories (e.g. True Local).
Review your listings to make sure:
- It’s easy for people to find
- It’s easy for people to contact
- It’s easy for people to make a reservation or enquiry.
Step 2: Optimise for Local AND Mobile Search
Just think about all those new people in the vicinity who will be using their phone to find a good restaurant, bar, gym, day spa, or mini golf course.
Around 56% of searches are conducted on a mobile device now, according to a report from Hitwise. And keep in mind that this report is from 2016 (the percentage has likely increased), and that a lot of your event-based audience is probably solely using their phone during this period.
If you want to turn those searches into customers, you need to:
- Make sure your site and social media pages are optimised with the keywords they’ll be looking for (including words and phrases specific to your location).
- Do the same thing for mobile, also incorporating phrases like ‘near me’ and ‘nearby’.
- And, oh yeah, your website needs to be mobile-friendly. Even if you have the right keywords, if your site is difficult to navigate on mobile, you’ll lose those visitors in less time than it takes Usain Bolt to run 100 metres, which I’m told he can do rather quickly.
Step 3: Get Your Content Ready
So you’ve done all you can to drive that extra search traffic towards your site. Now you can just sit back and watch the customers roll in, right?
Reviewing and improving your content is vital to turning those visitors into actual dollars.
Start by making sure you’ve covered the basics:
- Does your content include accurate, up-to-date and clear information about what your business does?
- Will potential customers find the details they need to move forward when they land on your website?
- Does your content encourage visitors to convert? (e.g. Does it motivate them to get in touch, book a table or make a purchase?)
Once you’re confident that’s all taken care of, work on making your content engaging for your audience by trying the following:
- Create a great location-specific promotion to run during the event (make sure your messaging and visuals are on point for this and that you have a distribution plan – this is the time for everything to be just right).
- Develop a themed game or challenge (maybe a quiz?) that visitors can enjoy and share.
- Temporarily update your web content (and your design, if possible) to make reference to the event.
Step 4: Review Your Social Media
Everybody knows that social media is growing. But did you realise that more and more people are also actively turning to their social channels when making decisions?
The lead-up to a local event is the perfect time to optimise your social media presence so that visitors get a great first impression when they find you on Facebook, Instagram, or another network.
Take time to:
- Review your profiles/pages from a basics perspective, ensuring all the details are up-to-date and everything looks good.
- Make sure your messaging and visuals for before and during the local event are planned in advance and optimised.
- Check that you’re targeting the right people with your posts and ads, using retargeting and geo-targeting where possible.
Step 4½: Collect Customer Reviews on Social Media
Asking customers to leave a review is a fantastic engagement technique for three key reasons:
- It builds loyalty with the customer leaving the review.
- If published on Facebook, for example, it’s immediately visible to that customer’s connections. (The ever-important ‘word of mouth’ is still incredibly powerful, and this is an excellent way to facilitate and encourage it online.)
- It creates solid ‘social proof’, which is often the tipping factor for people comparing companies.
Beyond reviews, you can also encourage people to like/follow your pages and check in to your business. The more engagement, the higher the chance of getting promoted organically.
Step 5: Get All the Data – and Use It!
How much data do you currently collect about your customers and website visitors? Do you know their behaviours and what motivates them to come back to you or refer you to friends? What about trends in your traffic?
For small-to-medium business owners and managers, a big local event is the perfect time to make friends with data. You’ll likely have a significant number of, well, numbers to actually analyse, which means you can get real customer insights that will remain valuable long after the event has finished. Data collected during this busy time could help you understand how to attract and retain customers in the future.
And you won’t be grumbling at that, will you?
By setting up your SEO, content and social strategies in advance, it’s possible to really rake in the results during a local event. The key is to be proactive – you’re dealing with a people who typically have never heard of you before, so they won’t come to you unless you are easily discoverable. And to do that, you need the right SEO tactics, visuals, messaging, and audience targeting.
You can also bet that your competitors are gearing up for the event too. You don’t want to be the runner that misses the starting gun.
So if it is the Commonwealth Games you’re bracing for, don’t leave it any later. Just like any competing athlete, you should be well into your preparation by now. Don’t leave things to the last minute, and don’t just rely on increased people translating into increased profit without any action from you.
Need someone to coach you to a gold medal in digital marketing? We’re just a call away.